The Mock Orange

Philadelphus ‘Belle Étoile’, the Mock Orange, is a Hydrangeaceae family member that’s currently filling the University Parks West Walk with its wonderfully sweet scent. A hardy, deciduous shrub with an arching habit and growing to around 2m tall, it has mid-green oval leaves and in early summer produces a profusion of white flowers with a purple flash in the centre. These can reach 5cm across.

This is generally quite a robust shrub, requiring full sun or part shade. like many of the shrubs in this part of the Parks it can tolerate dry conditions quite well, although a regular mulch of compost in autumn will help. The plant is generally pest- and disease-free, although occasionally aphids can cause problems. It is ideal for the middle of a sheltered border, especially by a patio so the scent can be enjoyed on a warm summer evening. It needs to be pruned straight after flowering to encourage flowering the following year; you can propagate it by taking hard wood cuttings at the same time. For more information see the RHS website.

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